Saturday, January 3, 2015
Additionally, it's a bit schizophrenic here. Part of it's the neighborhood we live in, I guess. Being under attack all the time does take it's toll. It requires constant diligence, overcoming techniques, many tears, heartbreak and funerals. We don't treat each other well, except in the midst of tragedy and then we are entirely One people - no one will ever be bonded more closely together than at those times. But in between events...it's a free for all circus. One minute a complete stranger will give you the money to get home on the bus because Egged screwed up your Rav Kav and won't - as in refuse - find a way to correct it, but five minutes later you will be cut in front of, in any line you have ever stood in, mowed down on the sidewalk by racing cyclists (including the Harley variety) or baby carriages (don't get me wrong I love babies, it's the parents wielding the carriage like a weapon that I mind), screamed at, insulted and out maneuvered. The wear and tear and fatigue from the never ending battle just to survive is sometimes overwhelming.
And then there's the infrastructure. The mind-boggling bureaucracy, the unresponsive and self serving government, the public family brawl that is called politics...and a few other things that would be too airing of our family laundry to mention. There's not a single thing that we do not have to fight for, the first answer is always "no", and the rule is "wait two days", find a different person, and start over. Everything from receiving a package from the post office, to paying bills, dealing with the bank, maneuvering the health system, getting a renewal on your drivers license, paying your arnona (property tax) and everything in between, requires a lengthy instruction manuel on how to succeed at the task (except that no one has ever written one)....and an insane amount of sablanut. (patience). The wear and tear and fatigue from the never ending battle just to survive is sometimes overwhelming.
Nu, why on earth do I live here, you might ask. Fair question, as obviously, I ask myself the same.
The only answer I can give to that is to tell of a moment that happened to me this past fall. Even now I am trying to remember that moment again, especially when the fatigue of the battle overwhelms me.
That morning i was walking down the back road near my apartment, the sun intense and hot. Nearby cypress trees offered no shade, standing only like soldiers guarding the walkway and framing the Israeli sky. The Israeli sky - that certain blue found nowhere else, proud and perfect and beautiful. In front of me were the blue iron gates and fences of Yerushalayim - matching the sky and bringing heaven and earth together. The air, a mix between steamy and dusty settled into my soul filling all the empty spaces within.
For a moment in time, I felt the kind of peace that only Israel gives...the air, the sky & the Land is somehow eternal and it permeates everything. For a few real-time minutes my world became timeless - by some immortal moment or memory, I found myself standing amidst the blazing sun, the Israeli sky, the companionship of the cypress as though it were anywhere in Israel and anywhere in time. I had stepped through a door into timeless realm ..and it was thoroughly delicious.
There was that inexplicable soul level knowledge/understanding that my neshama, even my dna, is married to this Land. I am safe here, my soul is safe. I am connected to this place Eretz Yisrael, this people, my people, Am Yisrael, and always have been. For better or worse, I am here.
So, on days when the going gets really tough, when my sablanut is missing or wearing thin, when the winter months are long, the days too short and the nights too dark & long, when i get yelled at or treated rudely one too many times, when i miss my family - none of whom are here in Israel - I will think of that special moment in time and try to remember why I am here.
I will stay and await my children to come, holding and anchoring a place for them like I always have. The safety of Gan Eden, they will come when the time is right. I can only pray I am still here.